tv Meet the Press MSNBC May 8, 2016 11:00am-12:01pm PDT
this sunday, the republican party coming apart. >> really looks like a massive victory. >> donald trump wraps up the republican nomination and effectively tells gop leaders, it's my party. and you can cry if you want to. >> our theme is very simple. it's make america great again. >> my interview with the republican party's presumptive nominee, donald trump. plus, it's a simple fact. divided parties lose elections. republican voters embrace trump. the republican leadership says no way. >> i'm just not ready to do that at this point. >> can donald trump become the
first candidate in more than half a century to win an election without a united party behind him? also, don't look now, but the general election has already begun. >> i can focus on hillary. crooked hillary. >> he doesn't think much of equal pay for women because, of course, he doesn't think much of women. >> even snl is looking towards november. >> now we've landed on the exciting presidential matchup between a godless liberal democrat and hillary clinton. >> joining me for insight and analysis this sunday morning are eugene robinson for the "washington post." andrea mitchell of nbc news, matt bai, national political correspondent for yahoo news and republican strategist and pollster kellyanne conway. welcome to sunday. it's "meet the press." good sunday morning. happy mother's day to all the moms out there watching. this may well be this generation's defining moment in american politics, particularly
for republicans. republican party splitting apart as it turns its back on its new presumptive nominee, donald trump. what we're witnessing is nothing short of what you might call tissue rejection. conservatives who warn trump will prove he's not one of them are having their own i told you so moment. during the primaries. trump said he was opposed to raising the minimum wage. now he's for it. he put out a plan lowering taxes, now he said he's open to raising taxes for the wealthiest americans and in the primaries, he insists over and over again, he would self-fund the campaign, and now he says he's building a world class financial organization. that has led a long parade of prominent republicans to say either they can't support trump or they have to think it over. we'll get to my interview with donald trump in a moment, but one thing is clear. he begins the campaign as a presumptive campaign of a party whose leader should didn't want him and is reluctant to rally around him. in short, is the republican party wigging out? >> i'm not there right now.
and i hope to, though. i want to. but i think what is required is that we unify this party. >> donald trump is facing a rejection from republican party leaders that is unprecedented in modern politics. >> i think donald trump is a con man. >> ben sass says a third party candidate is the only solution. quote, this is america. if both choices stink, we reject them and go bigger. the only two living republican presidents, both bushes, are also noes, refusing to endorse trump and skipping the republican convention after a campaign of insults to jeb. >> he's low energy, that's for sure. >> the 2012 nominee also a no, is being courted to run as an independent. so far, mitt romney is not interested. the 2008 nominee with a primary in august is a reluctant yes, but also staying away from cleveland in july.
>> if it's donald trump at the top of the ticket, no doubt that this may be the race of my life. >> even the chair of the convention is sending a signal to donors and voters that it's okay to stay on the bench. >> i think the bulk of the burden on unifying the party will have to come from our presumptive nominee. >> i didn't get paul ryan. i don't know what happened. all of a sudden, he wants to be cute, but we'll see. >> with a meeting plans in washington next week, the chill could thaw, and some trump skeptics are coming around, including rick perry who said this months ago. >> donald trump's candidacy is a cancer on conservatism. >> trump begins as a scarred candidate, trailing by 23 points among women and leading by three points among men. >> he didn't think much of equal
pay for women because he doesn't think much of women. >> for trump, the attacks are personal. >> she was the total enabler. she would go after these women and destroy their lives. have you read what hillary clinton did to the women that bill clinton had affairs with? and they're going after me with women. give me a break, folks. >> yesterday, i spoke with mr. trump and began by asking if he waw surprised to have already wrapped up the republican nomination. >> well, i thought i would do it. i didn't know i would do it this early. i assumed hillary would be watching me. so that's good and it's going to be an interesting thing because bernie sanders is not being treated fairly. it's a rigged system against him, also. i'm no bernie fan, i can tell you that, but it's a rigged system. >> do you believe the republican system was pretty rigged too even though you're winning it?
>> yeah, totally rigged. totally rigged and only that i was winning by so much, in land slides every week. if i weren't, i wouldn't have been able to do it because it was dictated by the bosses. i'm happy with it. like a boxer, you have to go and knock out the opponent. we won so many landslide states, especially the last seven or eight, so there was nothing they could do about it. >> you complained about the system a lot. are you now openo same-day registration, allowing people to vote in any party they want? will you advocate for those positions to make it easier to vote since your voters had a hard time? >> i have always done better when independents could cross over, and frankly, when democrats could cross over. in new york, when we were doing
the voting, they interviewed a lot of people interviewed the people at the voting booths that man the voting booths. >> in new york, had there been same-day voter registration, those people could have voted. are you for that? >> they said they never have seen so many democrats wanting to vote for trump. they were by the thousands. on election day, we're going to do well in new york. people were saying to the press they have never seen anything like it. >> but i'm just curious, do you want to see the voting laws changed to make it easier to vote? >> i want to see voting laws so that people that are citizens can vote, not so people that can walk off the street and can vote or so that illegal immigrants can vote. >> not for same-day? >> i want to make the voting laws, it doesn't matter how they do it, but i don't think people should sneak in through the cracks. you have to have -- and whether that's an i.d., but you have to be a citizen to vote. >> of course. that is the law. as it stands -- >> no, it's not. you have places where people just walk in and vote. >> we don't have a lot of time. i want to move on. let me talk about the paul ryan situation. frankly, you seem pretty annoyed by this. are you? >> no. it's just the way it is.
i don't think it hurts me at all. and i would like to have his support, but if he doesn't want to support me, that's fine. we have to go about it. look, i'm going to get millions and millions of votes more than the republicans would have gotten. if you look at the numbers, i think right now or i will be this week or next week, in the history of the republican party, nobody has ever gotten so many votes as i have. i have beaten eisenhower and nixon and reagan and everybody. and we have a tremendous group of people that's voting. and remember, i have a lot of states left. if you look at the percentages. i got 62% in new york and i got these massive numbers all over, and i have three candidates. i was having to beat three candidates. nobody ever mentions that. you get 62%, but it's not just about one person. it's against three. >> your case to paul ryan is, hey, the voters have decided. get onboard? >> i would say that's true. to be honest. i like paul ryan, he's a good guy.
he called me three weeks ago and was so supportive. i got blindsided by it. >> you feel blindsided. >> would say stunned, it's politics. i'm never stunned by anything that happened in politics. i was blindsided a little bit because he spoke to me three weeks ago, a nice call, encouraging call. i was doing well. he called me, i think, to congratulate me for new york because i won my massive numbers and the next week, i won five states in a row by landslide numbers. he called me to congratulate me, couldn't have been nicer. i have a nice relationship with him. don't know him well, met him one time. and then all of a sudden he gets on and does this number. so i'm not exactly sure what he has in mind. >> if he can't endorse you, do you think he should be chair of the convention? >> i don't want to mention now. i'll see after. i will give you a very solid answer if that happens about one minute after that happens. there's no reason to give it right now.
>> sounds like i know what the answer is, but you don't want to say it yet. you're not -- you don't want to issue threats. you're not going to issue a public threat. >> i don't think that's going to happen. the party has come together. i have tremendous number of endorsements. i'm never going to get romney's endorsement. i'm never going to get bush's election. he doesn't say he spent $10 million on negative ads, but jeb bush, i was tough on him and he tried to be tough on me, but he's not a very tough guy. i was tough on him. the fact is, and by the way, by the way, chuck, very important, he signed a pledge. he pledged that he would support the nominee. and so did this lightweight lindsey graham. he pledged he would support the nominee. >> you threatened to back away from that pledge a lot.
for various reasons. >> no, no, no. i didn't back away. in fact, one of the reasons i didn't back away is i happen to be a very honorable guy. i signed a pledge. and that's a binding pledge. i heard it's not binding. well, it is a binding pledge. i have the best lawyers in the world. they say it's a binding pledge. >> it was very binding for south carolina. that was the only way to get on the ballot. >> remember this. jeb bush signed a pledge. a binding pledge. lindsey graham signed a binding pledge that they would endorse, that they would support and endorse. that's what it says. now they're breaking. that's a question of honor. they are not honorable people when they do that. >> let me ask you about mitt romney, as you know, there's chatter that he's being
recruited to run as an independent. i know you say you don't care that you have his support. but if you could have a sit-down with mitt romney, if he came to you when he was wanting your endorsement, have you thought about traveling to him and seeing if you can sort of calm the waters with him at all? and if you did, what would you say to him? >> well, here's the story. i helped mitt a lot. i raised a lot of money for him. i ruined the carpet in my apartment, we had so many people come. we had two fund-raisers because there were so many people for his wife, who is a fantastic woman, by the way. i had these fund-raisers in my apartment. they called me for help. i did robocalls. speeches, everything, during the primary season, during the election season. they should have used me in florida. he would have won florida, but they had this campaign manager, stewart whatever, who didn't like donald trump. he thought donald trump was too tough and too controversial and don't use him. so they didn't use me. that was okay. when it came down to the convention, i wasn't a part of the convention. that was okay. what happened is i was rough on mitt because i didn't think they treated me properly. i helped him, really helped him, gave him a lot of money, helped him with robocalls, every single robocall i made, he won that
state. every single speech i made, he won the state in terms of the primaries. when it came time to the general election, i waited for the call. i didn't care. if they don't want to call me, that's okay. if i would have been asked to help him in florida, you saw what i did in florida. i would have helped him. wait a minute. if mitt romney did that, i would be happy to talk to him. i think it's great. >> he owes you a thank you. you want him to thank you first for 2012 before you will reach out to him? >> i helped mitt romney. >> and you feel like he was ungrateful? >> i believe i won him or helped him win five states. >> you sound like he was ungrateful? >> he was, which is okay. a lot of people are ungrateful, but he was ungrateful. they did not respond accordingly, and that's okay. >> let me move on. let me move on to some issue things. there's a few things that some people think are contradictions. i want to see if i can pin you down here.
the issue of taxes. your tax plan is one where the biggest beneficiaries are the .1% when it comes to raw dollars that will be saved among taxes. but then in an interview earlier this week, you seem to say, you know, my tax plan, it's not set in stone. maybe i'll raise taxes. maybe i'll actually raise taxes on the rich. so i guess which is it? are you willing to raise taxes on the .1% or not? >> let me explain how the world works. i think nobody knows more about taxes than i do and income than i do. but i'll explain how it works. i come up with the biggest tax cut by far of any candidate, anybody. and i put it in. but that doesn't mean that's what we're going to get. we have to negotiate. the thing i'm going to do is make sure the middle class gets good taxes. tax breaks, because they have been absolutely shunned. the other thing i'm going to fight very hard for business.
for the wealthy, i think frankly it's going to go up. you know what? it really should go up. >> wealthy need to pay more taxes. what do you define as wealthy, by the way? >> let me explain. somebody like me. let me explain something. i'm putting in a plan, chuck. i have to negotiate now with senators and congressmen. the fact i put in a plan, it really is a floor. that's what it is. whether we like it or not. i put in my plan. it's simple to see. it's a simplification. we lower the number of brackets. we lower the taxes on the middle class, on business, and we lower the taxes on everybody. very substantially. but i have no illusions. i don't think that's going to be the final plan because they're going to come to me, including the democrats and everybody else. they're going to come and want to negotiate. that's a floor, that's where we're starting. when it comes time to negotiate, i feel less concerned with the rich than i do with the middle
class. >> it sounds like -- >> very concerned -- >> should we assume that most of your plans, then, we shouldn't take you at your word. they're sort of floors, what you described, it's my opening statement, but everything is negotiating? >> excuse me. it's called life, chuck. it's not my word. of course, i put in a proposal. you know what they are, they're really proposals. people say it's a tax plan. it's a tax proposal. after i put it in and i think you know the senate and congress. you know as much as anybody. they start working with you, and they start fighting. and you know, let's see what happens. i put in a proposal. under my proposal, it's the biggest tax cut by far of any candidate by far. i'm not under the illusion that's going to pass. they're going to come to me. they're going to wand to raise it for the rich. they're going to want to raise it for the rich more than anybody else, but the middle class has to be protected. the rich are probably going to pay more and business might have to pay more, but we're giving a massive business tax cut. we're the highest taxed nation in the world. >> wait a minute, let me stop you there. you said businesses might pay more. you said business might pay more, but we're going to get them a massive tax cut. within ten words.
>> i didn't say it. excuse me. i said they might have to pay more than my proposal. >> of your proposal. i wanted to get that clear. >> than my proposal. i'm not talking about more than they're paying now. the highest taxed nation in the world. our businesses pay more taxes than any businesses in the world. that's why companies are leaving. so they may have to pay more than my proposal, is what i mean. >> no, no, i wanted to clear that up. >> good. i'm glad you cleared it up. >> minimum wage, at a debate, you remember what you said, you didn't want to touch it. now you're open to it. what changed? >> let me just tell you, i have been traveling the country for many months, since june 16th, all over. today i'm in the state of washington where the arena right behind me, you probably hear, is packed with thousands and thousands of people. i'm doing that right after i finish you. i have seen what is going on. i don't know how people make it on $7.25 an hour. now, with that being said, i would like to see an increase of some magnitude, but i would rather leave it to the states. let the states decide. don't forget, the states have to compete with each other. >> so set a floor and let the states -- >> no, i would rather have the states go out and do what they have to do. and the states compete with each
other, not only other countries but with each other, chuck. i like the idea of let the states decide. i think people should get more. i think they're out there, they're working. it is a very low number. you know, with what's happened to the economy, with what's happened, it's just, i don't know how you live on $7.25 an hour. i would say let the states decide. >> another contradiction has been on your feelings toward hillary clinton. in 2012, as she was leaving secretary of state, you praised her. you thought she did a good job. you said, you know what, she's not pushing her agenda. she had to carry on someone else's agenda. before that, you didn't fault her on the iraq war vote because you said, you know what, she got bad intelligence like a lot of other people got. now -- >> didn't get bad intelligence. i didn't get bad intelligence. >> i understand that. you said you kind of forgave her on that early on.
now you're calling her, she's been crooked from the start. this goes back to, which donald trump do we believe on your feelings toward hillary clinton? 2012 or now? >> okay. so recently, a magazine said donald trump is a world class businessman, and i am. i built an amazing company, some of the greatest assets in the world, just great stuff, all over the world. i go all over the world. i'm in europe, in asia, all over the world. i'm not looking to get in fights with politicians. i'm not looking to get in fights with the secretary of state, so when i do something in a country, wherever it may be, in dubai, where i'm doing big jobs and other places, in china where i'm actually getting ready to sign big jobs through my company. i want to get along with politicians. when somebody says, what do you think of hillary clinton? number one, i'm not looking at it that closely because i'm in
business. but when somebody says, three, four, five years ago, let's look at hillary clinton, what do you think? she's doing great. i say everybody is doing great. the fact is she has not done a good job. when i look at what happens with libya, when i look at what happened with benghazi, when you look at the migration, all of the things, but i'm not looking to criticize. you can look at many politicians that haven't done a good job. how are they doing? they're doing just fine. >> do you think you can do it before the election? >> i hope so. i would like to. i have no problem with releasing the tax returns. if the audit is finished, i'll do it as soon as the audit is finished. i have already given my financials. my financials show i'm worth more than $10 billion by any
stretch of the imagination. you don't learn much from tax returns, but you can't do it until i'm done with there audit. >> the crowd is fired up. >> fired up. >> big washington state stars up there. thank you for coming on, sir. >> great people. thank you. within minutes of finishing the interview with me, donald trump said something that is going to raise some eyebrows. this is what he said about women at that rally in spokane, washington. >> i mean, all of the men, we're petrified to speak to women anymore. we may raise our voice. the women get it better than we do, folks. >> we'll discuss that after the break, and throughout the morning, we want to show you moments from commencement addresses around the country, from some key political leads. we'll start with president obama at howard university. >> given the current state of our political rhetoric and debate, let me say something that may be controversial, and that is this. america is a better place today than it was when i graduated from college.
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welcome back. our panel is here. matt bai, columnist for yahoo news, kellyanne conway, fresh off cruz's super pac. andrea mitchell, chief foreign affairs correspondent, and eugene robinson. i teased everybody with that quote that trump said at this rally. let me play it again for anybody who forgot about it. let's take a listen. >> i mean, all of the men, we're petrified to speak to women anymore. we may raise our voice.
you know what. the women get it better than we do, folks. >> kellyanne, your thoughts. >> that's his whole riff on political correctness. he's not talking about what i think the hillary people will say he met, which is pay equity and equal rights. he's talking about political correctness. this is a man over the course of the year as the front-runner and now the presumptive nominee has been able to cash in with voters with the us versus them. the them changes all the time, the rigged system, political correctness, people who take money. >> always a them. >> always a them, and this was part of it. >> andrea. >> he's tapping into the anger, when talking about a rigged system, he's also embracing bernie sanders because he's trying to recruit the anti-hillary clinton, bernie sanders supporters. tap into all that.
they're all against the establishment. hillary clinton is the establishment. he doesn't answer questions or he changes his positions at will. and he's still managing to get away with it because he is talking above the level of people questioning him. >> i was just thinking, imagine if mitt romney had said that quote. >> yeah. >> four years ago. he got punished for what todd akin said four years ago. >> wasn't the finest moment. >> but this is something you think -- >> well, same reason, the reason he can -- we call it a flip-flop when somebody says one thing and does another. in politics, you can't get away with it. it's a sign of inauthenticity. one thing we learned in the primary process and we need to heed it carefully, he's not judged by the standards of a politician. he's judged by the standards of entertainers. they're constantly changing who they are, what they say. the question that remains over the general election is, in a general election, with a different, broader electorate, is he judged as a politician or
the way you judge an entertainer. >> you're absolutely right. that's what we saw throughout the interview. when you started asking him about his contradictions and the issues, what do you think about the minimum wage? well, yes and no. he's going to go either way, both ways. the same on every issue you tried to pin him down on. so i think it makes the general election campaign totally unpredictable, except in its unpredictability, except in the fact trump will run to the left of clinton on issues, to the right on other issues. >> aren't conservatives going, see, we told you he would do this? >> some are, chuck, and they're welcome to their opinions. however, you can't leave on the field the 10 million plus voters who supported this man in the primaries. it's historically high figure. i have to push back a little bit. i don't think it's fair to say he's judged as an entertainer. what he's judged as is a
non-politician. politicians are held to account now for their positions. nonpoliticians will be held some time in the future for their positions. i'm not sure the election this fall will be a referendum on donald trump. it could be a referendum on hillary clinton. it's easy for him to say you have been in public life for 30 years. if you want to improve the lot of women, where have you been? >> let's go to the ryan rift a little bit. donors, it was funny, is a donor generated or a message to donors, message to incumbents who are afraid of running with donald trump? >> what paul ryan is saying is he has to protect the house majority. he has to protect incumbent congress members who are concerned about the donald trump effect. so he's basically going to worry about the swing districts, which is his majority, and those in
safe districts can go with trump or do whatever they have to do. look, the fact that he changes positions on minimum wage and on the tax, his tax proposal in one interview with you, and has also said, you know, importantly, he said in the last 48 hours on cnbc that he would let the u.s. default. he would let the u.s. become greece. when he's saying i'm not going to pay 100% on treasury bonds, he's saying something to republican donors, to the business community, that is so shocking that it is widely -- >> right, but doesn't hurt him politically? or does it? >> no. >> look -- >> i think it does. if it is properly explained. >> if i'm donald trump and there are a few people i would less likely be, but if i were donald trump, i would go right into the teeth of that. it would be a terrible mistake to be the republican standard bearer. he has to run against the entire system.
this is an opening to do that. >> he walks a line. she says these outrageous things that are crazy, perhaps, that we think are crazy. but somehow, he never goes too far for his base. there are things he could say that would go too far for his base. >> what? >> we don't know yet. >> we don't know what they are yet. we think we did. we're going to talk more about all of the we thinks and we thoughts and what happens later. when we come back, though, how long has it been since a candidate has been this far behind at the start of the general election campaign? that's where trump is right now. what are the chances trump can make up the difference? we'll show you what history says. and we continue hearing from commencement speakers from the weekend of the political ilk. here's mitt romney. >> we live in tumultuous times. demagogues on the right and left draw upon our darker angels. scapegoating immigrants and muslims or bankers and businesspeople. stay up. you listen. you laugh.
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welcome back. data download time. you probably know by now that donald trump is behind hillary clinton in the polls. but did you know that the last time a candidate was this far behind at this stage has been more than a generation ago? let's dive in. in the latest nbc news/"wall street journal" poll a week ago, we had donald trump trailing hillary clinton nationally by 11 points. it's actually particularly an unprecedented number. for instance, when mitt romney clinched the nomination in april of 2012, he trailed obama by six. senator john mccain started two points behind senator obama in march 2008 when he became the presumptive nominee. he lost by seven. john kerry was behind incumbent george w. bush at two points in march of '04, the month he became the presumptive nominee. the race essentially stayed in the same place. kerry lost by three. in 2000, march when both gore
and bush became presumptive nominees of their respective parties. that first matchup had bush up 44-41. and of course, bush won. you have to go back to 1996 to find a presumptive nominee in worse shape than trump is right now. and that was bob dole. he trailed bill clinton by 17 points at the start of the general election campaign in may of '96. dole did make up ground, but he eventually lost in an electoral landslide by eight points. what does this all mean? donald trump was never an underdog in the gop primary. he led in nearly every poll after he entered the race. many folks thought we should ignore the polls, that they were wrong. polls were right, but the same polls have had trump losing to
clinton and in many cases losing badly. can trump make up the ground? history, as we just showed you, says no, but then again, he's already defied history once. when we come back, an example of what trump is up against. a republican senator who is not ready to endorse him, but he's also not ready to reject him outright either. welcome back. as we said earlier, divided parties lose elections. a simple proposition. no. peanuts don't even get casual khaki fridays. because peanuts take their job seriously. so unless you want a life of skimming wifi off the neighbors, you'll harness the hardworking power of the peanut. (cheering) when your symptoms start... distracting you? doctors recommend taking ...non-drowsy claritin every day of your allergy season. claritin provides powerful, non-drowsy 24 hour relief... for fewer interruptions from the amazing things you do every day. live claritin clear.
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on every purchase, everywhere. doesn't get much simpler than that. what's in your wallet? welcome back. as we said earlier, divided parties lose elections. a simple proposition. in '68, the democrats were split. their establish vice president hubert humfry, they were led by eugene mccarthy, that led out on the streets of chicago and helped nixon take the white house. '76, gerald ford was challenged on the right to the convention by ronald reagan. the fight, arguably, some could say, helped put carter into the white house that fall. 1980, it was carter's turn. a bitter challenge from the left by senator ted kennedy. certainly helped reagan win 44 states and the presidency. 1992, george h.w. bush was president.
he had the challenger in pat buchanan, and that helped make bush a one-term president. joining me now is a man whose emblematic of the split in the republican party. republican senator jeff flake of arizona who said he's not ready to support trump, but he hasn't ruled it out. senator flake, welcome back to the show. >> thanks for having me on. >> you said he's got to earn your support. he's got to change his tone, particularly the issue on the temporary ban on muslims seems to be among the things you find most difficult to support because it doesn't pass constitutional muster. if he doesn't retract that, can you support him? >> i can't see that. he's got to soften his position there. a total and complete ban on muslims, that is a religious test that is certainly against the constitution and it is the last thing we should do if we want to win a war on terrorism.
it's constitutionally wrong, and also strategically, it's just not a smart thing to do. >> so what should the party do, though? what do you want, do you want to see mitt romney run? if trump is not going to back away from these things and you can't support him, what do you do? how do you help your friend john mccain win re-election in arizona? >> obviously, donald trump was not my first choice or 17th choice to put it mildly. however, he is the nominee, the presumptive nominee. i don't see a third-party challenger come along. i would rather, as paul ryan has said, rather mr. trump simply change some of his positions and
modify what he has said. now, i think he's going to need to. we're well behind in the polls right now. and in order to win this election, if republicans want to win, and we do, then we've got to change the approach. because we're not going to win taking these positions. >> some trump supporters would say modifying has been the problem with republican nominees in the past. modifying not saying what you believe, not speaking truth to power or however you want to characterize what trump is doing, and say, hey, the voters have spoken. senator, you need to get onboard with him. why should he be obligated to get on board with where the republican party is? >> republican voters have spoken in a primary. we found in the past that's a big difference from voters speaking in a general election.
we're now moving to a general election. and it's a different ball game completely. we found in the past, and we have done an autopsy every time we come out of one of these elections that we, for example, needed better position on immigration. simply saying we're going to deport 11 million people, that's not a position you can take in a general election. it's not a rational approach. so a general election is far different from a primary election. >> do you accept this idea, though, that if a significant chunk of party leadership like yourself, speaker ryan, doesn't end up rallying around trump, it probably is the death warrant for his candidacy in the fall. are you comfortable with that? >> i don't think that's the death warrant for his candidacy. i think supporting a religious test for people who come here, saying you're going to change libel laws to make it easier to sue those who you don't agree with, saying we're going to good fault on the debt, taking positions like that are what is going to impede your campaign, not the fact that some republican leaders disagree with you. >> is there anything from trump's success that in these primaries that made you think, you know what, maybe i ought to rethink my position on x? >> like i said, it's one thing to win a primary. we all know that it's easier to win a primary taking certain positions. sometimes hard-core positions. but we all always know that those positions may not work in a general either. so it's one thing to win a
primary. it's a complete other ball game to win a general election. we're out to win a general election as republicans. we don't want another eight years or another four years of a democrat in the white house. so we've got to take a different position than we have taken in the primary. >> you recently met, you're one of the few republicans who met with the president's supreme court nominee, merrick garland. you called him a man of accomplishment and somebody with, quote, a keen intellect, but you want to wait for the election. you think the voters should have a say in this, dealing with the supreme court vacancy. now that donald trump is the presumptive nominee, have you changed your mind on that pledge? >> i think republicans are more than identified in waiting. that is following both principle and precedent. but the principle is to have the most conservative qualified jurist that we can have on the supreme court. not that the people ought to decide before the next election. i have never held that position. if we come to a point, i have said all along, where we're going to lose the election or we lose the election in november, then we ought to approve him quickly. because i'm certain that he'll be more conservative than a hillary clinton nomination come january.
>> all right. jeff flake, republican senator from arizona. i'm going to leave it there. thanks for getting up early and coming on. >> glad to do it. >> we'll be back in a moment. but first, dana carvey's church lady made a comeback last night on "snl." take a look. >> now we've landed on the exciting matchup between a godless liberal democrat and hillary clinton. there's a more enjoyable way to get your fiber. try phillips' fiber good gummies plus energy support. it's aiber supplement that helps support regularity, and includes b vitamins to help convert food to energy.
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put this all back together? it's just interesting hearing from jeff flake, kellyanne. i want to put up what bill bennett said. you have jeff flake, paul ryan in one place. bill bennett said this. it's not the time to be out there demanding all these things, trying to get trump to become reagan. it's time to surround him with good people and work with him during the convention. you said something interesting. this is generational. >> some of this, john mccain saying he'll vote for donald trump. >> bob dole. >> bob dole, newt gingrich. it is somewhat generational for them. they recognize it's healthy for a party going through some growing pains to actually shed some of its skin. i also want to get back to senator flake's interview. i thought it was astonishing for this reason. donald trump just won 48% of the vote in the republican primary. every single delegate in flake's home state of arizona. he got 250,000 voters.
and you just can't ignore that. his policies on immigration began in jan brewer's arizona. so i think there's a zeitgeist out there that some of the establishment of the republican party are still ignoring. when i think of senator flake, who i respect enormously, i think of the class of 2010 up for re-election in the senate in 2016 this year. they rode the tea party wave and now they have switched to decaf somehow. your votes are so moderate. if you look back -- >> they got into government. >> they got into government. go back a year ago and look at their approval ratings and re-elect numbers a year ago. they weren't doing so well. laying it just at the feet of donald trump is naive and inaccurate. >> to your point about the generational divide, the idea that a bunch of senior figures are going to sit down donald trump down in a room and coach him up, this is insane. it's not going to happen. more to that point, trump knows it's not going to happen. trump is behaving as if this is
his party now. that's what they're up against. >> when paul ryan was saying, you know, i want to hear a different tone, he does not want to hear what donald trump then went right out and did, which is to talk about hillary clinton, the philandering of bill clinton, how she was an enabler. he talked about murderers involved in white water. he was going in every direction paul ryan didn't want to hear. he wants to see if donald trump can speak differently. he's not going to. he can say one thing in front of a teleprompter, another when he's out in front of a crowd. gingrich, you can put gingrich on a ticket, put a running mate on who can help work with congress. that's not going to change donald trump. >> as a republican strategist, i have to say, paul ryan who have have great admiration and
affection for, he was on the ticket last time. the romney ticket lost eight of the nine swing states. >> i don't think you can blame the running mate for what happened at the top of the ticket. >> that's fine, but you had your chance last time. they got 5% of the african-american vote in wisconsin. is trump going to do worse than that? >> kellyanne makes -- meaning to, it's an interesting point, which is about, you kne, for years, for cycles and cycles, republican establishment has basically said to the base of the republican party, you lost. swallow it. get in line. >> and we have. >> now they're asked to get in line, and suddenly it's not your party. >> you inherited, and trump rightfully said, inherited it? i won it. >> i did not inherit the party, i won it. and he's right. he beat them. he beat them badly. >> look where hillary clinton is going to be tomorrow. louden county. >> today. i think they start today. >> that's tomorrow, monday afternoon.
louden county, virginia, to go for republican and swing voters for women. married women, older women because she's not gotten the millennials. that's where she's trying to fight the general election strategy. >> i want you to have the last word on women. you have spent a lot of time polling women for the republican party, trying to help them with their problems with the gender gap. how does donald trump fix this gender gap issue? >> he has to go on the issues. so far, i think if hillary clinton runs an idealogical and strict politics campaign, she could lose. she also has a problem with men. part of what donald trump says on the trump is machismo because hillary clinton has the reverse gender gap. and he has to fight her on the issues because the one thing that's not going to change between now and november is who is the outsider and who is the insider. and this does seem to be an outsider's election. >> if he has to fight her on the elections, i don't know. >> where has she been for 30 years? >> we're going to do a quick pause and then end game coming up. first, here's bill clinton speaking to a class of 2016 as
well. take a listen. >> last few years have seen an amazing explosion of economic, social, and political empowerment. they have also laid bare the power of persistent inequalities, political and social instability, and identity politics based on the simple proposition that our differences are all that matter. coming up, "meet the press" end game, brought to you by boeing, building the future one century at a time. end game time. i always feel bad when we have a great conversation and the 45 second break and i'm like, i want to re-create that. quickly, bill clinton, you had an interesting reaction. you guys just now to his commencement address. >> these years have been difficult for him. he's struggling with this legacy of the '90s that he's so proud of that has gotten pilloried in both parties. difference are all that matter. coming up, "meet the press" end game, brought to you by
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i always feel bad when we have a great conversation and the 45 second break and i'm like, i want to re-create that. quickly, bill clinton, you had an interesting reaction. you guys just now to his commencement address. >> these years have been difficult for him. he's struggling with this legacy of the '90s that he's so proud of that has gotten pilloried in both parties. he's trying to make the case that, you know, the progress is real. and that the rest of it isn't his fault. i think that he's always haunted by that. >> but also, that bill clinton's democratic party is gone. they have purged their pro-lifer, no blue dog democrats. >> his own wife has left him on that. she's moved so far towards bernie sanders, and she can't move back again. >>inating.
he could have done 20 minutes on what he meant by that. he seems fearful of the change. >> fearful of the change. he doesn't like the fact that identity politics and microtargeting and all of that, that's not bill clinton, not his stife. >> let's move to the media. jim is the media writer for the "new york times." he wrote this. every election cycle brings questionable news coverage, but this season has been truly spectacular in its failings. it's dewy defeats truman. the mistakes piled up, the bad predictions, the slight development of the horse race, the overtreatment of what turned out to be the most serious candidacy in the republican field. the lessons learned did not. i'm amused by this coming from the "new york times."
not to pile on one newspaper, but if you compare the "new york times" and "washington post," the post took trump more seriously quicker than the times did. >> the key to cover the campaign was to cover the campaign as it was, not as you thought it should be or wished it was or whatever. observer bias crept into a lot of coverage. people took more seriously the data points that confirmed their view than the points that refuted their view. so while donald trump was winning, he was way ahead in the polls. you know, and so people would write that, well, 56% of republicans voted for somebody other than donald trump. yeah, but, you know, 85% voted for somebody other than jeb bush
or marco rubio or whatever. >> i don't think you can escape the fact that he got enormous amounts of free media, and it was all focused on live carrying of his rallies and reporting every tweet, and there was less policy discussion, less policy coverage. not just about donald trump but all of the candidates. it was more horse race, more social media driven than in any previous candidate. >> the candidate was more poll driven. from what -- here's another thing i'm wondering. if you're ted cruz or any candidate in the future, message discipline is a negative. >> it's actually a negative. that's right. >> by the way, apparently because it's boring. >> it's boring, and look, it's not just the coverage. to gene's point, there were conclusions in search of evidence the entire time the race was covered and it's been very humbling for some folks. also, i don't think donald trump could have run as effectively four or eight years ago. he's got this multi-level media platform now. if he's not tweeting, he's rallying. if he's not rallying, he's giving interviews to folks like
you, chuck. it's also, he's much more fun to cover than hillary clinton. and that's going to matter this fall. >> much more accessible. >> correct. >> i think there's a little bit of a false dichotomy. i agree with andrea and i agree with the role of the media, but i think jim, who is a fantastic writer sets up a false dichotomy who said he was treated too much as an entertainer and not a politician. there is no line between politics and entertainment in this. and that's where we have ended up. >> what a segue. speaking of no line. here's "snl" last night. >> there are those who say you're not qualified, and that's not true. i remember a "celebrity apprentice" episode where gary busey didn't sell enough pancakes and you just said, you're fired. i thought right then and there, give this man the nuclear code. >> lot of people are saying that. >> it is the culture that has changed the political coverage as well. >> and the technology. >> yes. >> trump has seen it. obama was the guy that saw it in '08. trump saw it now. >> and the clinton people think that obama is going to be this, you know, political nuclear weapon to go out on the trail. and could be. to rally his coalition behind, you know, her, even though people in his coalition are still lukewarm about her. but boy. >> there's a history, you guys can keep talking. i'm going to turn the cameras off. you have been terrific. that's all for today. happy mother's day. cvs is still open if you have
forgotten. if it's sunday, it's "meet the press." happy mother's day, everyone, thank you for joining us. we're at msnbc headquarters in new york. the question is, can trump entice the establishment? less than five days to go before the gop nominee sits down with the top man at capitol hill kechlt win paul ryan's endorsement? if not, how will it affect his party's support? trump giving his two cents on "meet the press" earlier today. >> we have to go about it. i'm going to get millions and millions of votes more than the republicans would have gotten. if you look at the numbers, i think right now or i will be this week or next week in the history of the republican party, nobody has